Pilot diverts plane to give passengers better view of volcano

(CNN) -- Erupting Icelandic volcanoes have been known to ground flights, but this time they kept one up in the air as a pilot looped around to give passengers a better view of the spectacle.

The extraordinary detour over the smoke and lava-spewing Bardarbunga volcano was captured on camera by one passenger and the image was later posted on Twitter by the airline.

"Our pilot made an extra circle around #Bardarbunga this morning to let passengers check it out," it said, thanking Erla Vinsy for the photo.

It's not often passenger plane pilots turn tour guide, with most sticking to dry commentary about airspeed, altitude and weather and confining off-flightpath maneuvers to holding patterns above busy airports.

Volcanic activity around Bardarbunga in August prompted Iceland's Meteorological Office to briefly raise the aviation threat level to red, its highest.

There were fears of a repeat of the travel chaos of 2010 when a huge eruption from another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, led to weeks of flight cancellations.

The alert related to Bardabunga was lowered to orange just days later and restrictions dropped, but officials said seismic activity was continuing at the volcano.

Volcanic ash can be a serious hazard to aircraft, reducing visibility, damaging flight controls and ultimately causing jet engines to fail.

From a safe distance though, it's got to be worth a second look.